Captain Reuben Dow’s Coy

Col. Wm. Prescott’s Battalion

January 1999

To The Members of Prescott’s Battalion and other Friends,

I came across a quote from historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (author of The Midwife’s Tale and professor of Early American History at Harvard) the other day that speaks well to some of the new directions that emerged from our "School of the 18th Century" in October:

Many people assume that history is an unalterable set of facts. It is "what happened" in the long ago. Historians know that history is an account of what happened based on surviving evidences and the questions we bring to it. Every account of the past is limited not only by what we can know but by what we care to know. History is constantly rewritten not only because historians, archivists, and ordinary people discover new sources of information, but because the world around us forces us to bring new questions to old documents. History is not a fixed body of information. It is a powerful dialogue between present and past, which is why it is so controversial."

We have scheduled our Annual Meeting for March 6 at the Chelmsford Garrison House (directions enclosed). The meeting will begin at 10 am and cover our 1999 schedule for drills and events as well as how to continue the efforts begun at the School of the 18th Century in October to improve our portrayal of New Englanders in the 1770's by learning more about how they lived and what they thought. Please come with ideas for what you’d like to see us do. The meeting will be followed by a potluck lunch (20th century food is fine) and an afternoon of drilling, music and civilian demonstrations. As you can see from the enclosed invitation, we have invited local re-enactors to join us to practice Battle Road drills and music. For those not drilling, it is a great location to demonstrate period crafts so bring whatever projects you’re working on. We also have access to an open hearth: bring ingredients for your favorite 18th century recipes or experiment with new ones you’ve been meaning to try. If you need cooking gear, please let me know by February 25 so I can coordinate getting it there. It would also be helpful to get a headcount so please let us know whether you plan to come.

Nelia Newell

Jim Hayden, Captain
Steven Taskovics, Lt.
John Newell, Sgt.
Jane Law Baker, Music Master